Steelers notebook: Rex Ryan says he’s never seen Big Ben this hot
New York Jets coach Rex Ryan has opposed Ben Roethlisberger as a head coach and a defensive coordinator, and he doesn’t see anything different in the Steelers quarterback despite his 12 touchdown passes in two games.
“The same guy that I’ve always seen. (But) I’ve never seen him this hot,” Ryan said Wednesday on a conference call.
Ryan lost to the Steelers in the AFC title game with the Jets and the Ravens. He said several antagonists from those games — James Harrison and Brett Keisel — are adding a toughness element now that they’re back with the Steelers.
“They’re smart, instinctive and tough (guys),” Ryan said, including the injured Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor in that group. “It shows up every day. It shows up in every game. It shows up in their mentality and the way they play. Once you establish that kind of tradition, they don’t let go of it and they won’t let the young guys let go of it, either. It’s the same thing we established in Baltimore when I was there with that defense.”
Ryan is 5-8 against the Steelers as an assistant (4-5) and as a head coach (1-3), counting the playoffs.
Allen knows role as Polamalu fill-in
Safety Troy Polamalu hadn’t missed a snap all season until injuring a knee Sunday, and that means Will Allen moves into the lineup — again.
Allen made seven starts when Polamalu injured a calf in 2009.
“There are no adjustments. We just go out and play like we do every week, the next man just steps up,” Allen said. “Antwon Blake did well (after taking over for Cortez Allen as the slot corner). I’ve (been) a starter. … We have to go in and make do, play hard, play together.”
Vick beats Steelers 34-34
Jets quarterback Michael Vick was a key figure in one of the greatest comebacks against the Steelers, rallying the Atlanta Falcons from a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter to a 34-34 tie at Heinz Field in 2002.
He threw for 294 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score.
“It was tough,” he said. “I’m still surprised the game ended in a tie. I thought we should have won, but it’s hard playing in Pittsburgh.”
Linebacker Jason Worilds (abdomen) was added to the Steelers’ injury list after he sat out practice Wednesday.
Also absent were Polamalu (knee), linebacker Ryan Shazier (ankle) and safety Shamarko Thomas (hamstring), all of whom are out Sunday, and safety Ross Ventrone (hamstring).
Limited were defensive end Cam Heyward, who isn’t injured, and cornerback Ike Taylor (broken right forearm). Safety Mike Mitchell, defensive end Brett Keisel, tight end Heath Miller and center Maurkice Pouncey got the day off.
Big Ben looks ahead
Ben Roethlisberger repeated as the AFC Offensive Player of the Week after throwing six touchdown passes for the second successive game.
But he wouldn’t talk about his NFL record 12 TD passes in two games, saying, “It’s over. Last week is over. The week before that is over. It’s all about this week now.”
Haley cool without headgear
Roethlisberger joked that offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who hasn’t worn a hat the last two weeks, was shivering on the sidelines Sunday.
Haley decided not to wear a hat after his wife gave him what he thought was a spiffy haircut before the Colts game and, obviously superstitious, also didn’t wear one in the Ravens game.
“He won’t have one on this week, I’m sure,” Roethlisberger said.
Steelers stay on upset alert
The Steelers have a recent history of losing to inferior-record teams, and Will Allen cautions they should remember that Sunday.
“They (the Jets) have got a lot of Pro Bowlers on that team. They’re going to be ready to play, to fight. We lost to Tampa Bay, and they’re 1-7. Every team is good in the NFL.”
Safety added to practice squad
With Polamalu and Thomas injured, and the Steelers down to only one healthy backup safety in Robert Golden, they added Jordan Dangerfield to their practice squad. He was with them during training camp.
Defensive end Ethan Hemer was released from the practice squad.